Would you ever consider an open relationship?
"Wow, you were so good!" my classmates shared in unison after I finished my scene with my acting partner at our local Santa Monica Community College class when I was in my mid-20's.
"Have you done this before?"
"No," I said, shyly.
In that "no," what I actually wanted to say was:
"I've been acting all my life. I had to pretend that my family was always okay when we were in the middle of breaking down, as my parents were always on the verge of divorce. I had to pretend that the adults in my life loved me, even though they treated me as though I were a servant girl. I had to pretend like I had friends, yet I was often eating lunch by myself in front of my locker in high school."
With all that practice, how could I have not been a good actress?
Even though the image above is of my husband and I in a gorgeous intimate moment, what you're not seeing is the months of hardship we endured when I was suffering deeply frompostpartum depression, when I didn't have a tribe as a new mama living on an island in the middle of the ocean, when he and I couldn't communicate worth a damn, because we'd known each other all of a three weeks when we consciously chose to conceive our daughter.
During my last trip to San Diego, I impulsively got two tattoos on the sides of my forearms — "WILD" and "FREE."
This is the ethos that I've always wanted to live, yet I realized recently that I've reached the end of what "wild" and "free" means by the standards upon which I grew up...
Standards that were rigid.
That were based on scarcity.
That were rooted in fear.
That broke my soul down until I was forced to fall in line with what was "accepted" by the adults, schools, and social circles I belonged to.
I pursued a creative career versus becoming a doctor or a lawyer.
I became a travel writer, earning my income completely differently than a normal full-time job.
I pursued becoming a yoga teacher and an energy healer, even though my family wasn't spiritual, so I learned to develop my own sense of faith in young adulthood.
I sold all of my belongings to move to Kauai within three weeks of my second trip there, because the signs from the Universe were too abundantly clear to deny that's exactly what my next step was supposed to be.
On this tiny rock in the middle of the Pacific Ocean that happens to be the most remote inhabited place in the world, I met my husband and it's where we felt called to have our daughter, who we both knew was a girl before we conceived.
My life has not been "in line," but being an entrepreneur has felt like I was still within the boundaries of what was acceptable.
In our "work hard, play hard" culture, it was easy to feel like I was still doing the right things that made me successful, since I poured all of my heart and soul into my business. Plus, it's always felt safe to use my brain over my heart, and I did indeed apply 150% intellect to craft business strategies, create marketing plans, navigate networking events.
But all along, my heart has been telling me...
Slow it down, honey.
Go within, baby.
You've gotta come at this from a completely different point of view.
It's time to fundamentally change.
That's why I'm here, writing to you about open relationships, because this is NOT AT ALL what I would ever have perceived as something on my radar.
I thought polyamory was for the woo-woo hippies and that it actually never works in the end, but y'know what? Even TEDTalks are saying that we need to redefine marriage in a way that works for US individually in today's modern society.
These days, we expect more out of our partners than ever before, while investing less than we ever have.
If you want to hear more about this, listen to the Simplify podcast episode, Marriage is Dead, Long Live Marriage, with Eli Finkel.
You'll hear how social researchers are approaching relationships in the same way I believe in empowerment marketing: that we are seeking ways to evolve our consciousness, to reach the top of Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs, which is self-actualization. And today, that's what we're asking our relationships to do.
I'm ready for a new dynamic. For a new approach to happiness and contentment.
I reflected upon this last night and realized that year after year, even though there were bursts of happiness and high-floating, what I ultimately have experienced is sadness in wanting more than has consistently shown up for me.
I've finally figured out that it's because I've wanted to find joy out of a dynamic I was never built for...
I've still been trying to live "in the box" rather than smashing it to smithereens and living my own truths boldly, bravely, wildly.
It's why I'm listening to podcasts about cryptocurrency, about the 'quantum' way of living versus the 'Newtonian' way (which is what we've subscribed to as mainstream), about having open relationships... it's all so I can figure out what truly makes me happy instead of what I've falsely believed all along.
We only get one shot on this planet, in the ways we're conscious of now. If we don't live it fully, then we reach the end of our lives and experience what Australian nurse, Bronnie Ware, who cared for people in the last twelve weeks of their lives recorded as their most discussed regret:
"I wish I'd had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me."
Go. Be you.
Take that risk.
Tell that truth.
Say the thing.
Pursue your joy instead of what you've been told all along.
Try something new.